THE BLOG AT THE CROSSROADS
Posted: July 22, 2014
As Emmanuel Guibert turns fifty this year, three overriding goals have come to motivate him: “Making people, especially children, laugh, so that I can get back to the source of my love of comics and give kids all that I felt myself when reading my favourites. Then, trying to capture life through reportage. And finally, collaborating with friends I get along with well but who are also very different from me, so they take me where I’d never go on my own.” The results are a vibrant diversity of projects and approaches from a natural collaborator, whether he is working as writer or artist with his fellow French comics creators, or with his close friends, transforming their memories into unforgettable graphic memoirs. Read my new Article here…
Posted: July 16, 2014
Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK is proving to be one of the most popular exhibitions ever staged by The British Library. Due to high demand for tickets especially at weekends and Tuesday evenings, the BL has just announced the following additional late openings, allowing you to visit the show till 8.00pm on the evenings of:
Thursday July 24th; Thursday July 31st; Thursday August 7th; Monday August 11th; Wednesday August 13th; Thursday August 14th: and Monday August 18th.
Times and ticket booking can be found online here. Don’t miss your chance to catch this mind-expanding, once-in-a-lifetime exploration of British comics which has to close of Tuesday August 19th at 8pm precisely!
Posted: July 13, 2014
It was a privilege and pleasure for John Harris Dunning and I to collaborate as co-curators over the last two years with Adrian Edwards from The British Library on the current exhibition Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK, on display at the Library until August 19th. Adrian is interviewed on Resonance FM’s comics programme Panel Borders as part of a month of episodes looking at the connections between comics and literature.
Alex Fitch talks to Adrian in a Q and A recorded at Cartoon County in Brighton. Adrian discusses how he helped put together the exhibition - which looks at over one hundred years of British comics - with co-curators Paul Gravett and John Dunning, the marketing of the show and some of the more controversial items on display in the library from Aleister Crowley’s Tarot Cards to examples of comic book erotica.
First broadcast at 4.30pm Monday 14th July, repeated 11am Thursday 17th July on Resonance 104.4 FM (London). Also streamed at Resonance FM online, or listen to the extended podcast at Panel Borders website.
Posted: July 13, 2014
After two years spent rummaging through the British Library’s vast comics collection in London, co-curator John Harris Dunning and I have cherry-picked around two hundred items to display in Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK. Simply this country’s largest ever exhibition of British comics spanning centuries, it’s arranged in six thematic sections exploring violence, society, politics, sex, heroes and altered states, and continues daily till August 19th. From Jamie Hewlett’s sassy new mascot Lawless Nelly to Dave McKean’s brilliant design concepts, from prints, publications, scripts, sketches and original artwork to artefacts, audio and video clips, webcomics and Sequential’s iPad samplers, it’s really tough to choose, but here’s my personal Top Ten (I’d probably choose another Top Ten tomorrow!). And don’t miss the final weekend, August 15th to 17th, when Comica Festival presents in the BL Foyer a free Comica Comiket Fair & Drawing Parade, and a programme of celebrity panels and signings in the Conference Centre, including Bryan Lee O’Malley and Emmanuel Guibert. Read all about my Top Ten choices here…
Posted: July 9, 2014
Edwin Pouncey and Chris Long, alias art-gang Battle Of The Eyes, are part of the Art23 programme of the 2014 Streatham Festival. On Saturday July 12th from 1pm they will “painting for real in real time” before your very eyes in the Oxfam Furniture Shop at 24-26 The High Parade on Streatham High Road, London SW16 1EX. Don’t miss their latest visual, visceral performance! BOTE are also opening up their studio on July 11th and 12th - for more details of when and where to visit, check their website…
Posted: July 9, 2014
“Gravett loves comics.” Mightily chuffed about this long, considered review by Daniel Rasmus, including Dorothy Fields music clip, at Pop Matters of my recent book Comics Art from Tate in the UK and Yale University Press in the US. Here’s an extract:
“Known as one of England’s foremost authorities on comics, Paul Gravett was in the mood for love when he wrote Comics Art, a book that demonstrates his deep passion for the world of panels, speech balloons, fine lines and grand colors, subtle shading and transformative images. In Gravett’s view, comics create heightened reality, a third-person perspective that passes life through a variety lenses to alter the ordinary so that we learn to appreciate simple moments with greater heart, and when necessary, to fear the dreadful and the dishonest more deeply than allowed by the overburdened filters of the human mind.”
Posted: July 6, 2014
After American music legend Johnny Cash and Communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Reinhard Kleist turns to Polish Jewish boxer and Holocaust survivor Harry Haft (above) in the latest of his compelling graphic biographies which reveal the secrets of extraordinary 20th century lives. For the launch of The Boxer, translated into English by SelfMadeHero, the German artist came from Berlin to the Goethe Institut in London for an interview with me and shared his fascination with documenting complex personalities in comics. Read my Interview with Kleist here…
Posted: July 3, 2014
What wonderful comics are you looking forward to reading this September as the autumn approaches? Here are September’s sizzlers selected by me. You’ll notice that the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War continues to cast a long shadow over current and forthcoming releases, while several other new titles take other slices of history from the Middle East Crisis to America’s Dust Bowl, from beer to the Borgias. As I start gleaning my recommendations each month, I always wonder if I’ll be disappointed and find very little to choose, but as the range here demonstrates, the 9th Art never fails to inspire and excite me and I hope it does for you as well. Read my PG Tips here…
Posted: July 3, 2014
To coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Tove Jansson (1914 – 2001), the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London will host an exhibition in the Fox Reading Room presenting original unseen photographs and material relating to her life and work, illustrated books and early first editions. Tove Jansson, an accomplished Finnish author and artist, had a life every bit as fascinating as her famous creations, The Moomins.
Tove Jansson: Tales From the Archipelago draws an intimate portrait of the artist’s life on her private island in the archipelago of Finland, where she regularly spent the summer months with her female companion Tuulikki Pietilä and at her artist studio in Helsinki. Shot over a period of 60 years by her dear friend, renowned Finnish photographer C-G Hagström (b 1940) and her brother, photographer, Per Olov Jansson (b 1920), rare family photographs reveal a story of an extraordinary life.
Running from July 15th to August 24th, the exhibition is curated by Susanna Pettersson, Director, and Animaya Grant, Head of Events at the Finnish Institute in London, with the ICA. To read more about Tove Jansson, check out my Article about the exhibition Tove Jansson’s Dreamworld, which I curated in 2010 for the Belgian Comic Strip Centre in Brussels.
Posted: June 30, 2014
Seiichi Hayashi is an award-winning multi-disciplinary artist. After beginning his career as an animator at Toei Studios in 1962, Hayashi became a leading figure in the vibrant avant-garde cultural scene of late 1960s and early 1970s Tokyo. As a regular contributor to the legendary alternative manga magazine Garo, Hayashi became renowned for pioneering new territory in the medium of comics, with stories ranging from allegorical critiques of postwar Americanisation and the Vietnam War, to touching reflections on motherhood inspired by Japanese woodblock prints and pop music. Hayashi is perhaps best known for his graphic novel masterpiece Red Coloured Elegy, translated by Drawn & Quarterly.
And then on Wednesday July 2nd, in celebration of Hayashi’s famous 1969 “blues manga” Flowering Harbor (above) being translated into English for the first time by Breakdown Press, Seiichi Hayashi and Ryan Holmberg will walk listeners through the pop songs that have inspired Hayashi’s work from 7.30pm. This free event kicks off at Gosh Comics, 1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR between 7-9pm and will conclude with Seiichi Hayashi signing copies of the book.